Farmer's Market Springs Into Fall
Monday, September 12, 2011 6:30 pm
The colors of fall will soon be upon us right along with the fruits and vegetables you would expect at the Cannon County Farmers Market. The market will continue to be open on Saturday. What’s better than some fresh okra, squash, sweet potatoes or tomatoes during the weekend?
Cannon County Farmer’s Market has a wide selection of local favorites, items that you can find this coming Saturday-September 17th are; apples, pears, cucumbers, eggplants, handmade crafts, okra, peppers (sweet banana and Jalapeno, Anaheim and Cheyenne, habanero, poblano & green), potatoes (Irish and sweet), squash (butternut, cushaw & miscellaneous squash), tomatoes (green, yellow and vine ripe and roma), and a great selection baked goods, jams and jellies.
The Cannon County Farmers Market is located at the Cannon County Arts Center every Saturday beginning at 6:00 A.M. The Market has a vast selection of locally grown fruits and vegetables along with baked goods, crafts and jams and jellies. Our producers are proud to offer locally grown farm fresh produce. Visit the Cannon County Farmers Market at http://www.cannoncountyfarmersmarket.com/ for the latest on market news. You will also find useful information on recipes, food preservation, production tips and much more.
Most Saturdays the market is open until noon or until the farm fresh fruits and vegetables have been sold. Best way to get the best selection is to come early!
Vegetable of the week….Potato
The potato originates from the Lake Titicaca region of the Andean Mountains, located near modern-day Peru and Bolivia. It was domesticated between 10,000 and 7,000 years ago, providing a stable high-altitude food source for many cultures. The Incan people (13th-16th century A.D.) regarded the potato as key to their food security since the crop could easily be stored in dehydrated, freeze-dried, and fresh form for consumption during times when other crops failed. Between 1532 and 1572, Incans introduced the potato to Spanish explorers.
Reaching Europe around 1570, potatoes were first considered a novelty shared between royal courts, but quickly became popular with sailors as a cheap and nutritious food source that prevented scurvy, a common ailment caused by vitamin C deficiency. In the late 1700s, when much of Europe was engulfed in crop failures and famine, the potato was accepted as a stable high-calorie food source that could be grown in a variety of climates, producing high yields for feeding both livestock and people. Ireland became particularly dependent on the crop by the mid-1800s. After three consecutive crop failures between 1845-1848 due to late blight infections (a fungal disease), more than 1.5 million people died from starvation or emigrated from Ireland.
Many Irish immigrants fleeing the Irish potato famine immigrated to the United States, bringing the potato with them. However, the potato was already an American crop; documentation of its cultivation dates back to early colonists. The importance of potatoes in U.S. agriculture has been documented since 1866 when USDA first included them in crop production statistics. Today, the United States ranks fourth in the world for potato production, behind China, Russia, and India.
Processed potatoes. Since 1970, utilization of processed potatoes has surpassed fresh utilization in the United States. Spurred by the innovation of frozen-french-fry processing techniques in the 1950s and the increasing popularity of fast food chains, processed potatoes comprised 64 percent of total U.S. potato utilization during the 2000s (compared to 35 percent in 1960s).
During the 2000s, U.S. per capita use of frozen potatoes has averaged 55 pounds per year, compared to 42 pounds for fresh potatoes, 17 pounds for potato chips, and 14 pounds for dehydrated products. Within the United States, potatoes are the leading vegetable crop. During the 2000s, over four-fifths of the harvested potato crop was sold for fresh or processed use. The remainder crop was used for seed or animal feed and residual shrink/loss. Domestic utilization of potatoes has jumped from an average of 110 pounds per person in the 1960s to 129 pounds per person in the 2000s. (http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Potatoes/Background.htm)
The potato belongs to the nightshade family closely related to vegetables such as tomato, pepper and eggplant. As with other plants in the nightshade family, the leaves and stems contain small amounts of the poisonous glycoalkaloids. These compounds, which protect the plant from its predators, are, in general, concentrated in its leaves, stems, sprouts, and fruits. The tubers and vegetables from these plants have been part of diets throughout the world for hundreds of years.
Who can’t remember the minor slip-up in 1992 by Vice President Dan Quayle misspelling potato? The potato can be use in a diversity of recipes, including soups, stews, fried, baked, stuffer, twice baked and the list goes on. One of my favorite during the holidays is the traditional potato candy. Drop by the Cannon County Farmers Market and pick up some farm fresh fruits and vegetables and visit with our local producers. If you need more information concerning the Cannon County Farmers Market, contact Bruce Steelman at the Cannon County Extension Office (563-2554).